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Interning at the Forum 2000 Conference: NYU Prague Students Reflect

Every year, NYU students intern at the Forum 2000 conference – an international event started by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to promote human rights and democracy.  Below you can read the reflections of three students whose job was to write summaries of the panels for the Forum 2000 website and social media.  Spending three days in Prague’s sumptuous Zofin Palace, the students rubbed elbows with world leaders, famous journalists and human rights activists as they discussed the conference theme, “Is Democracy Too Old for Young People?”  

Kevin Hanley (Politics major,Liberal Studies)

Flanked by six guards, Albert the II, Prince of Monaco, entered the lecture hall followed by a round of applause. He spoke of climate change and the impending danger we face. He spoke of non action as the greatest risk to our survival. His speech was short and to the point, unlike the rest of the conference.

The panels that consumed the conference were long and thought provoking, calling upon audience members to ask questions often. At the panel sharing the namesake of the conference, “Is Democracy Too Old for Young People?” dignitaries and millennials alike spoke about the political and philosophical implications of youth shifting away from democracy. Esteemed political philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo had a very worthwhile quote when the discussion shifted to democracy and capitalism: “Democracy is about emancipation of human beings, and capitalism is about domination of human beings.” Mete Coban, a Labour Councillor for Stoke Newington and founder of My Life My Say, provided a first hand view of the recent Brexit vote and how to remedy the youth’s dissatisfaction for politics in the UK. The youth of the UK actually became very invested in the Brexit vote, but without knowing much about the implications of leaving the EU. Education, Coban said, is at the crux of the current apathy towards democracy spreading across the EU.

One of the most interesting discussions came in a panel about protecting democratic norms and institutions. In light of Russian meddling in US and EU elections, the question arises: how do we protect our institutions in a technologically advanced world? Ken Wollack, President of the National Democratic Institute, made the important distinction that Russian propaganda now is very different than that of the Cold War. Rather than try and pull people into Russia, Putin is trying to peg everyone on the world stage down to Russia’s level. The three major takeaways from this panel were 1) that democracy is in danger, even more today than thirty years ago 2) the western world is still strong enough to defend its values 3) institutions are crucial to holding democracy together.

Throughout the conference, my views about democracy and the world were called into question and reaffirmed almost simultaneously. From speaking to different panel participants and audience members, I got a sense that everyone took different things away from the conference depending on their notions about democracy going into the conference. Nevertheless, I came out just as optimistic as I went in, and that’s all I can really ask for.

Alejandra Torres (Gallatin)

When I first heard about Forum 2000, I registered online. It sounded like such an amazing opportunity to listen to and be inspired by the ideas and projects of brilliant world leaders. It was a shame that I had not heard about it on the NYC campus.

. An internship at Forum 2000 was simple: my presence at certain panels would be mandatory as I was to write reports on them. These reports would later be circulated on social media, online news sites, etc. to summarize this year’s success and promote future conferences. It was up to me to be a good listener and note-taker, and a good writer. I will admit that this latter part made me nervous. What if I was not as attentive as I should have been and did not properly transcribe or articulate what was expressed by the former president of a country?

Thus, while I was deciding which internship to accept, I exchanged several emails with Sera, trying to make the most informed decision. I also wanted an internship to extend beyond the conference. I absolutely love the fact that NYU Prague offers non-credit internships because I was hoping to be able to have an opportunity to continue gaining work experience during my time abroad. More importantly, I was searching for ways I could be more involved in Prague, learn more about Czech culture and interact with people outside of NYU. When Sera assured me that she would send me examples of past reports and that I could go into the office on Tuesdays (my day off) post-conference to work on assorted tasks, I was sold.

Writing this exactly a week after the initiation of the conference, I am so happy and blessed to have been offered this internship. I was impressed by several factors that frankly, far exceeded my expectations. The Forum 2000 Foundation was able to book gorgeous venues for the conference, it secured a plethora of incredible panelists who have been doing amazing things in their respective nations as well as in the global community, and it is so well established on the international arena. Walking into the opening panel, I felt like I was part of something big. The excitement and desire of the speakers and audience members to be agents of change was as palpable as my nervous, shaking legs.

I attended the opening panel, “Changing the International Order and the Future of Our Planet,” “Central Europe: 20 Years From Now,” “Austria and Europe;” “Religion and the Crisis of Democracy,” and “To End a War: The Colombian Peace Process.” Admittedly, there were times during these panels when I was so enthralled by the elegance, eloquence and intelligence of the speakers as they debated how to strengthen democracy in uncertain times, that I would forget that I was more than just an audience member seeking to be inspired. I had a job to do so, of course, I would quickly recover! There were many times when I agreed with what the panelists said that I would find myself silently snapping my fingers in between note-taking. At other times, the interdisciplinary approaches offered by the speakers challenged my own view points. Certainly, I left the conference with the sense that my world perspective expanded and became more enriched because some panelists pushed me to think more critically and look beyond the surface of global issues.

Prince Albert II of Monaco taught me that knowledge and awareness are critical tools to solving any type of problems; Iveta Radičová, the former Prime Minister of Slovakia, taught me that tolerance, trust and solidarity are crucial elements of liberal democracy that must be reawakened in order to improve the current political climate. Heinz Fischer, the former president of Austria, instilled in me the importance of international unity, cooperation and solidarity to address global crises.

The rush of submitting reports before the deadlines was exhilarating and empowering. In what may appear to be a childish reaction, I felt like a real adult because I have never had such fast-approaching deadlines. It was definitely good preparation for my future career. My work felt important because my supervisors relied on me to comprehend a panel that they were unable to attend. In finding the time to write my reports right after the panels concluded, I was able to also better understand in what I had participated. I was better able to clarify my own thoughts. In short, writing the reports was not only my job but it was a form of academic and personal reflection.

As I wait for my reports to be reviewed and edited, I am excited to see them once they are published. It will be a testament to my presence and experience at an amazing conference which, a week later, still seems so surreal; it will be a testament to my work and appreciation of the opportunity presented to me. I am also happy to continue working with the Forum 2000 Foundation because I will be focusing on a proposal to engage the NYU campus in New York in next year’s conference.

Ashley Jia (Stern)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I applied to Forum 2000, but I did know that I wanted to be more involved in politics. I’m no political science major, but as Jon Gnarr, former mayor of Reykjavik said, “maybe people who are not into politics should go into politics.” Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well, but I thought I’d give it a try.

The Forum 2000 Foundation provides a platform for global leaders and thinkers from around the world to discuss and debate critical issues surrounding democracy and the development of civil society. This year’s conference centered around “Strengthening Democracy in Uncertain Times,” and naturally, my reports examined current populist crises in Europe. I listened to MPs, professors, mayors, editors, political scientists—you name it—discuss and analyze just about everything when it comes to the rise of demagogues, whether that be institutional failure in Poland and Hungary or globalization in western countries.               

Though all the panels offered compelling discussion, my most interesting experience was reporting on a working breakfast at the French Embassy. The room was lavish, the breakfast was lavish, the people appeared important—forget about being a finance major amongst all the other political science major interns; now I really felt out of place. I did not think too much of it at first, but as I was rapidly typing away and shoving croissants down my throat (shout out to Forum 2000 for the incredible pastries), I suddenly hear a man seated a few spaces away from me be addressed as “His Excellency.” No wonder the pastries were so good. If they’re good enough for that guy, they’re good enough for me.

In all seriousness though, this experience has been incredibly rewarding. Having reported on this conference and listened to numerous panelists, I think that it is imperative for young people to become more active in their local communities and to be more understanding of conflicting viewpoints. With so much polarity in society today, positive change cannot materialize without action and a little compromise.

Photo by Ashley Jia

NYU Florence Professor Gallo Appointed to Italy’s Court of Auditors

On October 3, 2017, Professor Giampiero M. Gallo was appointed to the Italian Corte dei Conti by the President of the Republic, following a proposal by the Prime Minister. This Court of Auditors is a constitutional body supervising public expenditure both ex ante and ex post. Professor Gallo will join the Regional Budgetary Control Committee in Milan to supervise regional laws and report on yearly budgets from both the regional and the municipal administrations. He will be applying econometric methods to estimate effectiveness and efficacy benchmarks of public spending to evaluate individual administration performances.  As the new position as a Judge is incompatible with other forms of public employment, he will resign from his position at a local university. Professor Gallo will continue conducting research and and will continue to teach at NYU Florence.

NYU Washington, DC Students Start Two Podcast Series

NYU Washington, DC Students Raven Quesenberry, Meagen Tajalle, Dillon Fournier, and Dominick Nardone have started two podcast series: Talk the Walk and My Friend on the Hill. Both series gather perspectives on civic engagement and activism and working in government and politics. The students talk to a diverse set of DC’s players and insiders and engage in lively discussions.

Give their episodes a listen on the NYU Washington, DC SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/nyuwashingtondc

China’s Vice Premier Honored by NYU

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong received the New York University Presidential Medal of Honor last month, while visiting the United States to kickstart the first round of the U.S.-China Social and Cultural Dialogue. She was bestowed the university’s highest honor by NYU President Andrew Hamilton.

In her speech, Liu cited the landmark graduation of NYU Shanghai’s inaugural Class of 2017 in May, lauding the cooperation between NYU and China in recent years as “very fruitful.”

“The establishment of NYU Shanghai in 2012 in partnership with East China Normal University has especially become a significant milestone of Sino-U.S. education cooperation,” Liu said.

“I keenly feel that cultural and people-to-people exchange as a foundation of Sino-U.S. relations deserves great attention and requires long-term investment,” she said, adding that cooperation in education between the two countries not only has mutual benefits but also helps shape the future.

While in New York, Liu also attended the 2017 China-U.S. Young Maker Summit and China-U.S. Youth Innovation Center inauguration ceremony at New York University. Accompanied by NYU President Andrew Hamilton and NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman, the Vice Premier visited the China-U.S. Young Maker Competition to experience an exhibition of works from NYU and Chinese universities.

 

This post comes to us from NYU Shanghai and originally appeared here.

NYU Florence Live Streaming Inside American Politics Conference

On October 19-20 NYU Florence will host its annual​ ‘Inside American Politics’ conference. The conference brings together top American political​ experts and insiders, both Republican and Democrat​,​ and media ​experts ​for a discussion of the current situation in American politics. It is always an informative and lively gathering. This year it will also be live streamed and NYU students around the world, along with the public, can participate.

This year’s speakers include: Jonathan Capehart, Journalist, Editorial Board Member The Washington PostRon Christie, Republican political analyst, veteran senior advisor to the White House and Congress, founder and CEO Christie Strategies LLC; Rob Collins Republican political strategist; Todd Harris, Media and Communications Strategist for Senator Marco Rubio and other top Republican elected officials; Steve McMahon, Democratic Strategist, co-founder and CEO of Purple Strategies, LLC, and Adjunct Professor at NYU Washington D.C.; John Anzalone, President at Anzalone Liszt Research; Elise Jordan, ​Writer and political commentator; Doug Thornell, Managing Director ​ at ​Public Affairs Firm ​SKDKnickerbocker; Jay Newton Small​, Journalist, Time magazine.

The conference live streaming is available here. Join!

Internship Mixes Computer Science and Economics to Help Boost Development in Ghana

Students from around the NYU global network get a unique opportunity each year to participate in an internship in Kumawu, a small town in Ghana, where they work with the local population on technology to help improve their lives and livelihoods. The internship is organized by the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED) at NYU Abu Dhabi.

NYU Sydney Instructor to Judge Prestigious Australian Leadership Award

Last week, NYU Sydney instructor Dr. Andy West was invited to be a judge of the National Finals 2017 Australian Leadership and Excellence Awards (ALEAs), Australia’s peak awards ceremony recognizing and celebrating Australia’s most outstanding leaders. This is organized by the Institute of Managers and Leaders, which was previously the Australian Institute of Management. In addition to teaching at NYU Sydney, Andy is the Executive Dean at UBSS, an MBA Business School. He also lectures in the Department of Marketing at the University of Technology Sydney. He provides consulting services to the finance, professional services, ICT, higher education, and health industries. His research has focused on e-business adaption, marketing high technology, and marketing strategy. His recent research is into the early career success of marketing graduates, with a focus on the success factors of workplace integrated learning from simulation to industry collaboration projects with internships.

NYU Berlin Hosts a Discussion on Europe’s Centrist Backlash

On Tuesday October 10, NYU Berlin will host a discussion program, A Centrist Backlash?, with Fabrizio Tassinari, PhD, Executive Coordinator, School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, Florence and moderated by Site Director Gabriella Etmektsoglou.
Last year, the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the aftermath of the eurozone and refugee crises in Europe shook the political systems of the West to their very core. By contrast, this year’s election results in the Netherlands and France, and the results of the recent elections in Germany, point to something of a centrist backlash, with moderate movements gaining back some of the voters’ trust. In this seminar, moderated by NYU Berlin Director, Dr. Gabriella Etmektsoglou, Dr. Fabrizio Tassinari will look at the reasons and prospects of populism’s enduring appeal in Europe and beyond. Subsequently we will examine the responses that the European establishment has provided to the populist challenge. Finally, we will focus in on the refugee crisis and its aftermath as a case study of both populist and centrist discourses and policy making.

NYU Prague Co-hosts a Conference about the Roma Genocide

NYU Prague recently co-hosted a conference that brought together scholars and survivors of the Roma genocide.  As a lead-up to the conference, NYU Prague students met with two of the participating scholars – Tara Zahra (University of Chicago) and Jan Grill (Universidad del Valle, Cali) – who talked about the challenges of doing research about a minority group whose history has been mainly documented by the majority population.  Moderated by NYU Prague professor Katerina Capkova – also a co-organizer of the conference – the students learned about the discrimination and tragedies this minority has suffered throughout so many regimes: the Hapsburg Empire, the Nazis, the Communists …. .  In the following days, students could attend the conference and hear stories first-hand from genocide survivors and their family members.    Below is an article about the conference written by NYU Prague Resident Adviser Clare Profous who is also an intern at Romea, www.romea.cz – a website dedicated to publishing articles that promote human rights by giving a voice to the Roma minority.  You can find the original article here.
Roma and Sinti Genocide Survivors, Descendants and Scholars Unite in Prague
By Clare Profous. September 20 – 21, 2017
In what way have memories of the Roma genocide affected survivors and their descendants? How have these experiences continued to influence Roma and their treatment within Europe since 1945? These were some of the questions discussed this past week at the two-day conference Tracing the Legacies of the Roma Genocide: Families as Transmitters of Experience and Memory. The conference brought together two international academic initiatives, the research network “Legacies of the Roma Genocide in Europe since 1945”, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK and the Prague Forum for Romani Histories.
Roma throughout Europe were subject to violence and persecution by Nazi Germany and its allies in the 12 years leading up to 1945. It is estimated that at least 200,000 Roma were murdered, although some argue that the number may have been much higher.  Among other forms of persecution, Roma and Sinti were forced to personally experience or witness friends and relatives become victims of mass killings, were forced into gas chambers and killed there, were sent on death marches or were subjected to other forms of violence during and after the war – including sexual violence and mass sterilization.
Helena Sadílková, Ph.D, the Head of the Seminar of Romani Studies at Charles University and one of the main organizers of the event, explained what this new endeavor is about: “The Prague Forum for Romani Histories was established not only to foster a debate among scholars from different fields that focus on the history of the Roma and thus to support historical scholarship in Romani studies, but also to help to integrate such research into the wider field of European history – not as a separate/parallel minority history, but as an integral part of European history and an important lens that can deepen our understanding of the historical processes that have shaped the history of European societies”.
Speakers were invited from across the globe to reach this goal of fostering transnational discourse, including Professor Tara Zahra of Chicago University and Ari Joskowicz, an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University.  Scholars described their research in different regions of Europe including former Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, France, Belarus and Lithuania. Their work focused on the effects and coping mechanisms related to trauma, the transmission of memory within families as well as private and public forms of commemoration, and institutional practices regarding the treatment of Roma in post-war Europe.
The purpose of the conference was twofold. Not only did it allow scholars to share ideas, but it also promoted close collaboration and the co-production of knowledge between academics and members of diverse Romani communities. Researchers were joined by Roma and Sinti survivors and their descendants, who spoke of their experiences as victims of persecution and how that past continues to fuel present-day discrimination. They also spoke of the challenges they face as they work towards coming to terms with the tragedies affecting them and their families. This discussion marked the opening of the exhibition by Eve Rosenhaft and Jana Müller titled: “…don’t forget the photos, it’s very important…” The Nationalist Socialist Persecution of Central German Sinti and Roma at the Václav Havel Library in Prague.
“The research of the history of the Roma suffers from fragmentation and remains … on the margins of the field of history as an academic discipline in general. We, however, believe that the research in the history of Roma has a
great potential in contributing to the existing historic and historiographic debates on the processes and developments in Europe since the 19th century in terms of, i.e., (dis)continuities of certain social and institutional practices as well as the questions of periodization, production of knowledge, or methodological as well as ethical concerns, etc.” says Sadílková.
For the program and complete list of speakers, organizers, and sponsors go to: http://www.romanihistories.usd.cas.cz/conferences/?y=2017
Organizers:

Tisch at NYU Berlin – An Integrated Approach to Actor Training

Stanislavski, Brecht and Beyond: An Integrated Approach to Actor Training in Berlin is a one-semester program in theatre and actor training for advanced drama students. It is offered by NYU Berlin in conjunction with the Tisch Department of Drama, in affiliation with faculty from the world-renowned Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Berlin University of the Arts, and the internationally acclaimed Berlin Schaubuhne.

The program encourages students to create and perform realistic and devised theater, to strengthen and deepen their presence on stage and to craft performances that are intellectually informed, viscerally exciting, and theatrically courageous.

Students are able to experience a cosmopolitan city that holds a complex and crucial place in modern European history. Youthful, artistic, and hip, Berlin has traveled a path that led from the defining cultural avant-garde of the Weimar Republic to the devastation of World War II, from a divided city symbolizing the Cold War to today’s reunified and renewed capital.

A trailer video of the final performances form Spring 2017 is available here.